It began as just another day of wearing the ole red and khaki. I was working a 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. shift at Target Optical. I should have known this day, April 26, 2011, would be special. Signs were all around me.
I was working with my boss Raye all day, and most Tuesdays I would have worked alone until 3:00 p.m. And most of our guests that morning had issues to resolve – broken glasses, questions about discounts, special circumstances, you name it.
Raye made a comment about how there was a management position open in Kansas that I could apply for, and then we agreed I wouldn’t be moving there anytime soon, given my attachment to Gabriel and having a new niece or nephew on the way.
Then a guy came in whose wife was at Trinity across the interstate – the same hospital where your brother Gabriel was born. He was picking up some contacts for her, as she had just delivered a little boy Felix. She had delivered early but mom and baby were doing well.
I told the guy how excited I was for my little niece or nephew to arrive, that my sister was due on May 18th, but I had a feeling she was going to have the baby during the upcoming weekend. Part of this was a bit selfish because I was so excited to have a new niece or nephew and could not wait.
Then, before I knew it, 2:30 p.m. had rolled around and it was time for a lunch break. I went to check my phone as soon as I clocked out, and I had three voicemail messages. I saw your daddy Jeremiah called at 12:30 p.m., and my heart leapt. I listened to the message and literally jumped up and down. He and your mommy were at the hospital in Muscatine! I told Raye, and she told me to get going.
So I hopped in Smurfette and made the longest drive ever to Muscatine. I called a few people on the way to shorten the drive. I couldn’t speed either because I’d just been caught speeding in Missouri a month earlier and didn’t need a second ticket.
I had never been to the Muscatine hospital before – thank goodness for GPS on my iPhone 4. I arrived, a lady directed me to the second floor, and I walked down the hall and saw your mommy’s leg and your daddy crouching beside her at the end of the hall. I waved to your daddy and made sure everything was OK and headed back toward the lobby. I never intended to get that close to the delivery room, or to see them in the corner of the hallway. I had no idea where to go, so I had kept walking.
I fired up my netbook in the lobby to occupy my time, and in a few minutes your grandpa Bart and uncle Kyle came in. We all waited in the lobby for what seemed like forever.
A baby girl Emma soon appeared in the nursery window, and we saw your mommy and daddy in the back of the nursery with a look of concern on their faces. Your daddy waved for us to come near the back entrance, and he came out and announced your name (we could see through the window that you were a girl), weight, and length.
You were born only 15 minutes after I arrived at the hospital! We couldn’t hold you right away because you were on oxygen. Your mommy and daddy were by your side – sometimes alternating, sometimes together – until 9:00 p.m. when they had gradually weaned you off. It was difficult to watch them watch you, because I knew they were aching to hold you in their arms.
Then it was bath and dinner time for you. I decided once the oxygen bubble was off that I needed to get going home because you, your mommy, and your daddy had to be exhausted. I could come back the next morning to hold you. Then, after you were done eating, your mommy asked me if I wanted to hold you. I nearly cried.
You were beautiful – lots of black hair, a cute little nose, and a sweet disposition. I wanted to hold you for hours but had to share. I was floating on cloud nine as I drove home to Davenport and had trouble falling asleep that night. So I stayed up and tallied the Baby Challenge results. Another sign: The entry deadline was midnight on April 25th. I set it for that date and time because I had a feeling you would arrive early and wanted time to tabulate everything so I’d be ready to announce the winner when the time came. I thank you for waiting until after the entry deadline, but you didn’t give me much time to get everything ready to go. 😉
When I finally went to bed in the wee hours of the next morning, I thought about the seemingly normal day that turned out to be so wonderful. I prayed for you that night, as well as your mommy, daddy, and brother Gabriel.